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5 Crowd Pleasing Main Course Recipes for Thanksgiving

It’s time to start prepping those grocery lists for a good ol’ fashioned Thanksgiving dinner. If you’re in the market to try something new or want to expand your already fantastic meal, check out these sure to please main course recipes from our Mom Squad Ambassador, Brigette.

5 Crowd Pleasing Main Course Recipes for Thanksgiving



5 Crowd Pleasing Main Course Recipes for Thanksgiving


OMG can you believe it is already November and Thanksgiving is a few weeks away?! Where has the time gone? Seriously! And you know what Thanksgiving means.. Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, no school, family and FOOD! If your family is like the millions of other families in the US, then you may need an arsenal of recipes up your sleeve to not only feed the masses but also satisfy the family’s cravings. Plus awesome leftovers are like mana from heaven for us busy moms and dads! I know I don’t want to cook the day after Thanksgiving ;)!

There are so many dishes that can be served for your family’s Thanksgiving dinner. Whether you are a red meat kinda family, kosher or vegan, there is plenty of options for you and your family.

So to kind of get the Thanksgiving meal wheel kind of rolling, I wanted to share with you 5 easy, delicious and oh so crowd pleasing recipes for your main course.


Good old fashioned turkey!

We totally love turkey in our home for Thanksgiving! One simple recipe that I follow for our turkey has kind of been a combination of my grandmother’s tradition and Rachael Ray lol. First, I coat the bird with Extra Virgin Olive Oil making sure that it is completely coated. Second I season with my family favorites.. salt, pepper, garlic, thyme, tarragon and a little paprika.

Once it is fully coated I place it in a Turkey roasting bag which you can get at any mass retailer. ** (Tip the bag gives the outside that crispy skin but juicy inside)** On the back of the box of roasting bags there is a cooking time chart, just follow that and you will have the perfect bird!

Classic Pot Roast

We love the occasional pot roast in our family. Especially if they are on sale! You can make it into so many things, another perfect reason to have roast as a main course! Like most of these recipes you can let them cook all day or all night. For our roast, I season and brown all the sides on the stove in a little oil. Once it is nice and browned, I place it in our slow cooker, add between a cup and a cup and a half of water and let that baby go! It fills the house with warmth and deliciousness!


Chef Michael Symon’s Pan roasted chicken

I’m not sure if you have ever seen the Chew or any of his other cooking shows… but Chef Michael Symon is KNOWN for being a meat connoisseur. When I learned how to make his Pan roasted chicken, I seriously made it EVERYDAY for a week! I could not cannot get over how great and easy it is! If my kids didn’t tell me they were tired of chicken, I would have still made it. Not only is this recipe a crowd pleaser but it will make your Thanksgiving table look so beautiful! How can chicken make my table beautiful you ask? Slice it horizontally and thank me later lol! Check out the Chefs recipe here! http://abc.go.com/shows/the-chew/recipes/pan-roasted-chicken-michael-symon


Mustard and Brown sugar ham

So I never was a ham person and my husband wasn’t either, he would only eat it on occasion (Thanksgiving lol) but our whole marriage he would talk about his grandmother’s ham! He would go on and on about this brown sugar and mustard ham and I have never tasted it! Finally after 10 years I was able to taste this brown sugar and mustard concoction and it was divine! Even though we still do not eat pork in my family, I can honestly say that this mixture is perfect for not only ham but chicken and turkey as well. It is definitely the easiest mixture I have ever made as too. Simply start with a little brown sugar and add mustard until it turns into a smooth barbeque like consistency. As you add the mustard to the brown sugar, taste to make sure that there is a balance between the mustard and brown sugar. Once balanced you will get a sweet golden brown paste. Simply coat your ham and cook as you normally would!



So as I’m writing this piece it hit me, not everyone eats meat! Veggies and Vegans observe Thanksgiving too! So I felt it was only right to include an option for our veggie and vegan readers! Now I will be honest, my family tries to eat as healthy as possible but we do have our short comings (we could up the veggie intake). So as I was going through my recipe rolodex in my brain, I could not come up with very many recipes except one. Pasta! Who doesn’t love pasta? There are many vegan and veggie options when it comes to pasta noodles and sauce. Simply pick your noodles and sauce and add in some fresh onions, peppers and spinach! Or if you have the time, grab a spaghetti squash instead!


There are so many options when it comes to food and who said that you have to have one or the other for Thanksgiving? At the end of the day, all that matters is that you are with the ones you love with good food and great memories!


Brigette blogs at bybrigettedanielle.com 


From iFamily to Yours,






Check Out These 5 Perfect Thanksgiving Sides

Happy Wednesday, Kansas City! It really is so hard to fathom that the holidays are around the corner. As you start to piece together your Thanksgiving menu, you might want to mix things up. If that’s the case, our Mom Squad Ambassador, Brigette has a roundup of some great sides to add to the mix. Check it out!

Check Out These 5 Perfect Thanksgiving Sides

Check Out These 5 Perfect Thanksgiving Sides



If you ask me, Thanksgiving is more than a Holiday. It’s kind of a day where you can show your loved ones how much you love them by showering them with your best comfort food! We all know that food is a common denominator in every culture, not just for survival, but for celebrating, comforting and just showing love. Thanksgiving just so happens to be one of the best Holidays to do so! I mean the main focus is eating lol.

As a kid, my family and I would often stay the night at my grandparents’ house the night before a big holiday to get a head start on many of the family favorites. I would love waking up to the smell of my grandma’s roasted turkey and scratch made stuffing! Ahhh the glory days lol! The house would fill with the smell of pumpkin pie, apple pie, cinnamon and turkey. It was the smell of Thanksgiving!

As the older I got, I would lend even more of a helping hand in the kitchen and I would come to learn some of my grandmothers most coveted family recipes! And through many trial and errors, I was able to maintain a few of our family’s traditional recipes. But every now and then, it feels great to shake things up, try new recipes, new food and even new combinations! So if you are feeling stuck this Thanksgiving or want to shake it up a tad, try these awesome recipes! You never know, these could be your NEW family tradition!


Baked Apple Cranberry Stuffing

  • 1 [12oz] package of Pepperidge Farm Herb Cubed Stuffing
  • 2 1/4 cups of Swanson Chicken Broth [veggie works too!]
  • 4 stalks of celery, chopped [about 2 cups]
  • 1 large onion, chopped [about 1 cup or so]
  • 1 medium granny smith apple, chopped [skin on for extra nutrients!]
  • 1 cup of dried cranberries
  • 3 tablespoons of butter a pinch of cinnamon [optional extra!]
  • You’ll also need non-stick aluminum foil [like Renolyds Wrap] and a 3-quart shallow baking pan.
  • recipe yields 11 servings at 3/4 cup each


  1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a baking pan with foil, dull side down.
  3. Heat your butter in a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat.
  4. Add your chopped onion and celery and sauté until tender and translucent.
  5. Next stir in the broth, apple, and cranberries.
  6. For a sweeter stuffing, you can sprinkle a little bit of ground cinnamon into the mix or choose a more savory addition like allspice and garlic powder. Totally optional but both add a fabulous flavor boost!
  7. Remove the saucepan from heat and add in your stuffing.
  8. Mix to moisten and then spoon into foil-lined baking pan.
  9. Optional: Top with another sheet of foil to make a makeshift lid/tent for the stuffing to help lock in moisture. Overcooking may result in dry stuffing.
  10. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until your stuffing is hot and fluffy!

Recipe originally from http://peasandcrayons.com/2013/01/baked-apple-cranberry-stuffing.html#


Broccoli and rice casserole

  •  1 (2 lb.) package frozen broccoli
  • 2 cans condensed cream of mushroom soup – (don’t add milk)
  • 1 cup uncooked Minute Rice
  • 1 small (8 oz.) jar of Cheez Whiz


  1. Combine all ingredients in crockpot.
  2. Cook on high for about 4 hours.

Cranberry Salad with toasted pecans and smoked Gouda

  • dried cranberries
  • smoked Gouda cheese
  • pecans or walnuts
  • baby spinach/ dark mixed greens
  • red apples
  • fruit vinaigrette dressing


  1. Combine all ingredients into a bowl
  2. Drizzle fruit based vinaigrette lightly and toss.

Twice Baked Potatoes

  • 20 pound bag of Idaho russet baking potatoes
  • 1 stick Land O Lakes butter
  • 1 c. of milk, I use skim, but whole milk or cream is good too
  • 1/2 c. sour cream
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 bag grated cheddar cheese
  • 6 strips of bacon (optional)
  • green onions for garnish (optional)


  1. Bake the potatoes in the oven at 350* until tender, approximately 1 hour then pull them out of the oven and let them cool enough to handle.
  1. Get out your handy KitchenAid mixer and cut the top off each spud and scoop the inside of the potatoes into the mixer. Place the remaining potato boats into an ovenproof dish, like this oval Mauviel Copper casserole.
  2. Prepare your butter, milk and sour cream by melting the butter and mixing them in a measuring cup, ready to pour into the mixing bowl with the scooped spuds.
  3. Grind your salt and pepper into the mixer, take a taste, and adjust the seasonings
  4. Next fill the potato boats to overflowing with the hot white fluff of buttery goodness, and cover the potatoes with grated cheese, sprinkle with green onions and the crispy bacon. Put them back into the oven so they can all melt together. Reheat them in the oven for 15 – 30 minutes at 350. Recipe originally from http://livedan330.com/2014/01/29/twice-baked-potatoes/


Crockpot Mac and Cheese


  • 16 oz. elbow macaroni
  • 3 cups milk
  • 8 oz. Velveeta, cut into chunks
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, cut into chunks
  • 3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese



  1. Cook pasta in boiling water 3 minutes short of being al dente.
  2. Place the cooked macaroni, milk, Velveeta, butter and cheddar cheese into a crockpot. Stir and top with Parmesan cheese. Set heat to Low and cook for 2 to 3 hours. Stir occasionally and check for doneness starting at the 2-hour mark.


Read more at http://www.pipandebby.com/pip-ebby/2014/8/12/crockpot-mac-and-cheese.html#gjTAwzkMdZzbXQmE.99


As always, you can adjust recipes to your own dietary needs, amount and taste! I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as we do!


From iFamily to Yours,









8 Ways to Plan a Simple & Healthy Dinner for Your Family

Hello, Kansas City! Dinner can be tough for a family. Particularly trying to find recipes and foods that make even the pickiest eaters happy. Luckily, our Mom Squad Ambassador, Erin, has some great ideas to add some life to your dinner and hopefully please the entire pack. Check it out!

8 Ways to Plan a Simple & Healthy Dinner for Your Family



8 Ways to Plan a Simple & Healthy Dinner for Your Family


My children have to be the pickiest eaters on the planet! Planning dinner is not the easiest chore in my house at all. I thought I’d share some easy kid-friendly dinner ideas that just might please the pickiest of eaters in your household. I think dinner should be an enjoyable time for the whole family and hopefully these ideas will have your family clearing their plate and asking for seconds!


Simple, separated and balanced meals.

A lot of kids may not like casseroles yet because of different foods being mixed together. I would suggest possibly separating out the foods before mixing all of the ingredients together. This avoids having to make another whole meal for the picky eater in the bunch.


Breakfast for dinner

Pancakes, waffles, bacon, eggs, French toast! You could even have a waffle or pancake bar with different toppings for everyone to customize their own.


English muffin pizzas

SUPER simple and fun idea to get the kids involved in making dinner. Take an English muffin and top with sauce and cheese. Have a bunch of different veggies and meats cut up and cooked ready to add to the pizzas. Heat in the toaster oven or conventional oven for 10 minutes or so and you’re ready to eat!


Have an alternative choice

…but also put a small bite of the main meal on your child’s plate. We are all used to having choices when it comes to meals and kids are no different. They have a choice when they buy lunch at school or when we go to a restaurant.       The alternative choice for dinner does NOT have to be something extremely difficult to prepare and you can teach your child to make it as well. My daughter’s favorite alternative meal when we have something she absolutely will not eat is chicken noodle soup and crackers.


Spaghetti or pasta dishes

Where you can easily hide vegetables. It’s really hard to get kids to eat vegetables a lot of times. This is a great way to sneak a few nutrients in their food without them even knowing! I think there is a whole cookbook out there somewhere about hiding vegetables in food.

Involve your children

Involve your children in the process of shopping, preparing and cooking food. Or enroll them in a kid’s cooking club. My daughter tried guacamole for the first time ever at her cooking club and now she LOVES it! All because she made it herself and was able to add the ingredients she wanted to add and knew exactly what was in it.


Recreate your child’s favorite restaurant food

If your child likes a certain food at fast food restaurants try to recreate that food at home. My daughter would NEVER eat a hamburger at home until I decided to make the patty thin and toast the bun like McDonald’s hamburgers. She loves them now!


Make food fun!

There are all kinds of ideas on Pinterest to make food shaped like animals, scenes, or holiday themes. You can be as simple as you like or get crazy creative with those ideas.


Do you have any ideas or recipes that your kids just LOVE? Feel free to share with us in the comments!


From iFamily to Yours,


On the Dinner Table: Parmesan Chicken Pasta

Hello, Kansas City! I don’t know about all of you, but I am always looking for new recipes, especially kid/family-friend ones. Luckily, iFamilyKC has some great Mom Squad Ambassadors that are busting out some of their yummy go-to recipes, and sharing them with all of us. Take a look at Becky’s Parmesan Chicken Pasta that is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

On the Dinner Table: Parmesan Chicken Pasta

On the Dinner Table: Parmesan Chicken Pasta

After my post on dinner cheats, I felt the need to prove to all of you (really, myself) that I do actually (sometimes) cook dinner for my family.


But here’s the deal: I really do like to cook, but I am not a Martha Stewart chef. I’m not into recipes that send me to three different specialty grocery stores and into the woods to forage for rare ingredients. I don’t have time to babysit simmering sauces on the stove by constantly stirring for 15 minutes. I can’t be held responsible an entire list of crucial measurements. And I definitely do NOT want to spend more time cleaning up after a meal than we actually spend eating the meal.


All my go-to recipes have to pass my FED test—fast, easy and delicious. That last one is key, because it doesn’t matter how fast or easy it was, if no one likes it then it wasn’t worth the time and energy to make it.


Here’s a new recipe I threw together last week that passed my FED test with flying colors.



Antonio’s Parmesan Pasta with Chicken

Serves 5-6

(Ok, ok. I made up the ‘Antonio’s’ part but it helps sell it, don’t you think? Feel free to rename it with your own fictional Italian uncle’s name.)


Here’s what you need:


3-4 raw chicken breasts cut roughly into 1” cubes

A package of your favorite tubed pasta

6 tablespoons of olive oil, divided

Few cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

1/3 stick of butter

Splash of milk (use cream if you’ve got it)

1 ½ cups of Parmesan or something similar (if you want to up it to 2 cups, I won’t tell)

Chopped basil (fresh if you have it, any type of dried Italian seasonings if you don’t)

Salt and pepper



Here’s how you make it:


Heat up a pot of water on high heat for your pasta. While waiting for that to boil, heat up a large skillet on medium-high with a few tablespoons of olive oil. Once the oil is heated, add your chicken and season with salt and pepper.


Stir occasionally making sure the chicken is cooked thoroughly, about 6-7 minutes. Move the cooked chicken into a bowl. This is where other recipes would tell you to tent with foil. The chicken will be just fine, let’s move on.


Wipe the skillet clean with a paper towel and return to the med-high heat on the stove to make the sauce. If you’re short on time, you can speed things up by cooking the sauce and the chicken in separate skillets at the same time but I prefer fewer dishes to wash.


Add a few more tablespoons of olive oil to the skillet. Once the oil is heated, add the chopped garlic and stir until it’s toasted and smells garlicky. While that’s happening, salt your boiling water (I promise it makes a difference) and add your pasta.

Next, add the butter, milk and cheese to the skillet.

Stir until smooth, which only takes a few minutes.

Once your pasta is cooked al dente, drain and add it to the cheese sauce. Stir until your pasta is coated.

Finally, throw in the cooked chicken and stir until it’s mixed with the cheesy pasta.



Plate and top with chopped basil. Mama mia!


Oh, don’t mind them. Those are just my boys chowing down on seconds of this dish.


Fast, easy, tasty. Check, check, check.



Becky is a creative director, mother of three and blogs at PartyBoxKC.com/blog.


From iFamily to Yours,


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How You Can Cheat Dinner and Win for the Whole Family

Ahh, dinner time. I think we all have images of coming home, preparing a perfect meal, and having our equally perfect children instantly love what we’ve made. Unfortunately, that is rarely, if ever, real life. Our Mom Squad Ambassador, Becky has some great tips for ways to “cheat dinner,” and they are an absolute win! Take a look…

How You Can Cheat Dinner and Win for the Whole Family

How You Can Cheat Dinner and Win for the Whole Family

When you work full time and your spouse works full time and you’ve got multiple childcare pickups, sometimes things just have to give at the end of the day. In our house, sometimes that “thing” is dinner.

I actually really like to cook and do so regularly, so most days I’m covered. BUT, if I don’t have a real plan of what to make for dinner when we all get home, and the crew turns hangry before I figure it out—IT’S ALL OVER. Like code red, nuclear meltdown, Gizmo to Gremlins, call a priest, OVER.

It sounds so easy (and frankly, wonderful) to hit the drive-thru on these types of nights, but I know it’s not a healthy choice nor a good example to set for my own kids. Therefore, out of pure survival, I’ve come up with these last-minute dinner ideas that continue to save my family time and time again. If you’ve got your own, I beg you to share them.

The Rotisserie Chicken Dinner

How to Cheat Dinner and Win

If you’re only buying Rotisserie chicken the night you need it, you’re doing it all wrong. Buy one and store it in the fridge for later in the week to quickly and easily throw together chicken quesadillas, pulled-chicken sandwiches, chicken and pasta, chicken with rice, or just straight up cold drumsticks.

Pro Tip: Try to use your rotisserie chicken the day before your trash day so you can immediately dispose of the carnage the next morning.

The Picnic Dinner

 How to Cheat Dinner and Win


I’m just waiting for the day when my kids call me out for phoning in dinner on this one, but in the meantime they think our “picnic dinners” are so fun. It’s basically a collection of snacks like pretzels, cheese cubes, baby carrots, grapes, salami, crackers and baby dill pickles.

Pro Tip: To help disguise this dinner cheat, eat out on your deck or take the meal to a park.


The Build-Your-Own-Pizza Dinner

 How to Cheat Dinner and Win

This sounds like a lot of work but, I promise, the key is start with already-baked flat bread. Add spaghetti sauce (pizza sauce if you’re fancy), shredded mozzarella cheese and pepperonis. My kids love getting to build their own pizza and I love it because they are doing the meal prep for me, while I’m digging through the refrigerator to see if we have any ingredients to throw together a salad.

Pro Tip: Naan bread works great for this, too. I always keep a package in our freezer.


The Panini Dinner

How to Cheat Dinner and Win

I might get some grumpy faces if I try and pass off a plain ham and cheese sandwich as dinner, but a hot ham and cheese panini is always a hit. Those toasted panini grooves magically step up a last-minute meal instantly. Grab a variety pack of deli meats and a variety pack of cheese slices, and you’ve got all the combos to please everyone.

Pro Tip:  If you don’t have panini grill, use your waffle maker.


The Breakfast-for-Dinner Dinner

How to Cheat Dinner and Win
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. GET. ON. BOARD. There are few things easier to whip up than toast, scrambled eggs and some fruit. You’ll see bacon in the photo, I don’t even know what deep corner of our fridge that came from—we never have bacon. But we usually have slices of ham, which I’ll heat up and serve with the eggs. French toast with sliced bananas and/or strawberries is also a popular dinner menu at our house.

Pro Tip: Smoothies not only help convince your family that you had this meal planned for days, but are also a great way to make use of fruit and veggies before they go bad.
And finally ….

The Chipotle Dinner

 How to Cheat Dinner and Win


Yep, that’s right.  Who do you think I am? Super mom? If I am, this one is my secret weapon.


From iFamily to Yours,



Becky is a creative director and mother of 3. She blogs at PartyBoxKC.com/blog.




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